HEPA Filters Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Danish researchers found that the use of HEPA filters for reducing fine particles or particulates from the air improves cardiovascular health of elderly non-smoking people.

The study published in the second February issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, involved 21 non-smoking couples with ages between 60 and 75, living close to heavily traveled roads. An air filter was used with a HEPA filter for 48 hours and without a HEPA filter for another 48 hours. HEPA filters are used for cleaning the indoor air.

The subjects were monitored for their microvascular function, and the researchers examined samples of blood and urine to trace markers of inflammation, homeostasis (halted bleeding) and oxidative stress.

The researchers found that the reduction of airborne particles led to an 8% improvement in microvascular function. The poor function may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Professor Steffen Loft, M. D., D. M. Sc., of the Institute of Public Health in Copenhagen said that the “Reduction of particle exposure by filtration of recirculated air for only 48 hours improved the microvascular function (MVF) in healthy elderly citizens. This suggests that indoor air filtration represents a feasible means of reducing cardiovascular risk.”

The study also found that the air treated with HEPA filters contained 60 percent less ultrafine, fine and coarse air particles in homes, after only 2 days.

“It may ... be speculated that further improvement may occur after prolonged intervention by 6 months to 1 year, and that this could result in further reduction in cardiovascular risk in this healthy, elderly age group,” the researchers said, according to Reuters.

Dr. Loft, study’s lead author, said that indoor air pollution is due to heating sources, candles, cigarette smoke from neighbors, cooking, or traffic.

By Sophia Keenan
February 18th 2008

Dr. Mark Sneller

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